30 October, 2013

Compact Living

We did it! We have started living in a compact space. Shipping container? No... but I won't rule out the possibility. There's a lot that can be done with a shipping container! Look how cute:

(via Ecopods)

Our friend has gone to Brasil for half a year and we decided to rent his apartment. It's cute and small... so very small. 300 sq ft (about 30 sq mt) small. AND... it has a grand piano in it. Full size. It's amazing.
Sadly the piano is not mine, but I do get to play it while we live here. It's been a lot of fun - and quite a bit relaxing during the chaos of moving.

It's been a little hectic for us since V is working away during the weeks plus I have been working 2 hours away from our old place. It's quite a ways but it's worth it! I like my little job.
Anyways with both of us working, packing got less organized at the end. Moving was hard work and our friends offered help, but we didn't call them in as we want to save their help for moving out when our friend returns - but I digress.
We got mostly moved in over the weekend, then went back over last night after work to clean up the old place. We are officially out of there on the 31st - but yesterday was really our last day. As far as I'm concerned, someone can move in tonight.

The key to downsizing, I think, is having a storage unit. You need a place for your off-season clothes, your seasonal decor, and things you like that you're not ready to part with yet. Every few weeks, I like to go through my stuff and get rid of things I don't need anymore. It's hard sometimes, but I like to keep in mind the situation when we moved countries with only a vanload of stuff and nothing more. Part of me loved that we only had what was in our van - and part of me was sort of terrified that we had everything we owned inside the van. What if someone stole it?! Fortunately, nobody did. haha

We do not have a storage unit yet. Neither of us have had the time to go set one up, so we are living in a tiny place with ALL of our stuff in boxes and Ikea bags. We have been provided with an empty dresser and a couple empty closets - but the problem I have had this week is that all the boxes are blocking the closets so I can't put stuff away yet. We have an office chair in the hallway, which means I have to do a little sideways shimmy-shake dance to get to the kitchen. There are boxes lining a little pathway that goes from one end of the apartment to the other. My boss has leant me a daybed, so we are using that as a couch as well.

Tonight, I was finally able to put away a few bags of clothes, and rearrange some of the boxes that will eventually go to storage, and I must say it felt good to clear up some space in our place. Now, I only hope that I can get some good sleep!
I love the daybed, but each night I've slept in the new place, I have woken up several times during the night freaked out about missing my alarm going off. Silly, but it's so annoying!

I probably wont post pictures of the entire apartment on the blog as it is not truly ours, but I will certainly post a few details!

till then, adieu!

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10 October, 2013

Onyx the Great

I recently was given the sweetest gift - an opportunity to visit my dear friends Jessica and Ville in Finland. All I had to do in exchange was take some anniversary photos of them. We had a great time during my visit, we took a ferry to Tallinn, Estonia and we "blerched" a lot at home (per my request), but more on that in a different post.

Jess and Ville have the funniest little King Charles Cavalier dog, named Onyx.

 She is probably the most well trained dog I have ever met personally. Seriously. She does all kinds of fun little tricks for treats as well as listens when Jess and Ville tell her to do something. It's insane. I loved it! Also, she's very well loved and after we warmed up to each other, I think we became friends.

At least I hope so. She did give me kisses on the cheek - something I rarely let my own dog do in the past (I think it's sort of icky...) - so there was that.

I like dogs fine. I don't love them (well, I don't love other peoples' dogs), but I like them. It takes me a little while to warm up to someone else's animal, unless they're really social and unusually affectionate, but even then it takes some time. And it did with Onyx too...

... but after I left, I found myself missing the little booger, silly little beast that she is... I might have a little soft spot for her.

But with that face, how could you not?

Yes, Jess - you can have these pictures too ;-)

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31 July, 2013

Familjfotografering: Sandemar Naturreservat, Sverige

V and I have scheduled a few little sessions this year to keep the rust off our skills. I am excited with what came of it. We tried some new things (like an elaborately planned picnic) and flew by the seat of our pants with others. We met our family in the parking lot of Sandemar Nature Reserve, and hauled all of our gear, food, supplies, etc about half a mile back into the reserve. It was a particularly hot day, and the perfect setting happened to be right on a cow pasture - so the horseflies were out in force. I got bitten somewhere between 6-9 times on my legs and arms. Those little buggers bite right through your clothes!!!

Despite all that, it was really fun hanging out with the K family. Here are some of my favorites from their session!

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03 July, 2013


I've been trying to show you around my house now for a while. I showed you the bedroom... then realised our place is pretty small and part of me sort of likes keeping it private in a way. Also, getting nice light in our place is a bit difficult. We live in a basement apartment, and have windows on only half of our walls - so it's pretty dark. Especially since our walls are a dark brown textured fabric - it just DRINKS the light we do get! I will however, show you some things around my house making me happy today

I have phases of writing religiously in my 5 year journal for weeks, then nothing for weeks. I have been writing in this journal for about 19 months now and it's fun seeing what we were up to a year ago on each date (that i wrote). Today I am playing catch up, using the photos in my phone to remember what we were doing on the days I didn't write. I've got a month of catch up to do... 
 ...but I have my tea and a little bit of internet, all while watching Friends on the Xbox. It will be done in no time at all!

This piece of furniture makes me so very happy. We bought it for 15 Swedish Crowns. It was an instant asset to our home, supplementing the storage for our tiny little kitchen that has only two cupboards.
After a few weeks, I decided there was just too much wood in our house (wooden doors and doorframes, windowframes, hardwood floors, and a hardwood ceiling - not to mention our oak table and chairs, coffee table, computer desk...ENOUGH!) and I asked V to end the madness. He painted this piece white for me, and it completely transformed the space is in.

 We recently acquired the light bluey-minty-teal plates from the dump and they added a little more charm, with the bright red tea pot!

'Tis the season for Peonies in Sweden. I never really appreciated the flower until this year for some reason though. They are so lacy and gorgeous! A friend of ours was kind enough to share some flowers off their peony bush with me and these sit in my window.

 These hang on a wall near our fireplace. They were part of a Valentines gift I gave to V. The feathers and the wood round are watercolor paintings. The detail in them is just lovely. They are by an Italian artist, whose work you can see on Etsy, here.

I would love to own about 10 more of her beautiful paintings!!! These were very reasonably priced and they are originals, which is wonderful. I always catch myself looking at them when I'm in this area of our home.

Do you have favorite spaces in your home?

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01 July, 2013

DIY Chair Up-Cycle

I've always wanted to dumpster dive. That probably sounds so weird to some of you lovely readers! But it's true. I only heard about dumpster diving after I left the states. A few of my friends have been dumpster diving in Ohio for quite some time and they've gotten some of the coolest things! Not to mention it supplements the groceries. Seriously! Unopened, one-day expired food! It's amazing!

But this is not about eating food. This is about finding treasures! Our family is big into second hand shopping. We have a few favorite shops, and we all call each other when we go second-handing to tell each other if there's something good somewhere. It's pretty great! Lately though, we've taken to checking out dump sites. It sounds so much worse than it is! Ha! 
People for some reason like to take perfectly good things to place in the woods or maybe near a construction site and leave them. We have found entire leftovers from estate sales and whatnot there - and some really interesting furniture. Last week, we picked up a walnut coffee table that can convert into a full sized dining table. It's really fabulous.
This week, we found 5 matching chairs. One was broken so we left it, but the other four looked like this:

Most of the chairs were just dirty, and 3 of them had the cushions removed. I'm not exactly sure why! It looks likes someone tried to glue the cushions onto the chairs rather than just using the screws and screwing them into place... the mind boggles.
The chairs were originally a beige/tan color and were all about this level of dirty:

No smell, no real stains even! I could have washed them, to be perfectly honest. But no. I had other plans. Our kitchen area is red themed with little hints of teal, so I wanted something to really match!
One sacrificed tablecloth later and voila!

 I realized that the chair I chose for the photo was my first cushion re-do, and as such the pattern on the fabric was not entirely straight - but oh well. We're sitting on them, not staring at them! The rest are good though.
I got this "tablecloth" at a second hand shop for something like 5 crowns - which is like buying something for $.50. It was just a bit of fabric with three edges turned under and hemmed, and still had the selvage.

Well... now it's chair cushions.

And much better for it!

The whole project took about an hour. First, I laid out the tablecloth and checked that I had enough fabric for the job. Then I laid the cushions out on the fabric and cut around them with pinking shears, giving enough space to wrap the fabric around to the bottom of each side of the cushion.
I didn't remove the old covers because they weren't smelly at all, and really not that dirty. I just gave them a little wipe down then covered over them. I used a hammer tacker to staple the stretched fabric to the bottom of the cushions then used the same screws that came inside the chairs (all the original screws were inside their holes, just waiting to be used!) to screw the cushions back onto the frame. Easy peasy!

Have you done any quick up-cycle projects lately?

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28 June, 2013

For the Birds

It's summer, guys. That means that in Sweden (and anyone else who is this far north) gets a LOT of sunshine. A lot. We got a full 18 hours, 37 minutes, and 12 seconds of sun, according to timeanddate.com

The site also says that sunrise is around 3:31am... but for the last couple weeks, it's been getting light out earlier. Like 2:30am. Which means there's lots of birds excited to see the sun and they are loud. I try to make up for that by closing my window. Seems like a simple solution, but alas. For some reason we have yet to understand, our landlord keeps the radiators going day in and day out. Apparently during the summer, that heat usually goes to the swimming pool, but this year he decided not to open the pool... so the heat stays with us. We have our windows open basically 24-7. Lots of spiders... but I digress.

Usually if I manage to get to sleep before V, there's no problem. If I go to sleep after he does though, I lie awake listening to him breathe. It sounds more romantic than it is... ha! I usually have to wait until he starts to snore, then roll him over onto his side - wait for him to go silent, then I can sleep. Not to mention if it's too bright in the bedroom, I have to block it out in order to get to sleep (it's not a problem once I'm asleep), and we only have light, cotton curtains.
Well, for some reason or another, I've not been able to sleep despite going to bed before V - and once he gets to bed I lie awake well past the time when he goes silent, which is when the sun starts to rise and the birds start their songs.
After that it's pretty much impossible to sleep.

For almost a week, I couldn't get to sleep despite my best efforts, before the birds started chirping, and I got to see a few really pretty dawns. I took this video to give you an idea of the mornings (keep in mind this was recorded with my cell phone - make sure to click the sound icon in the corner and turn up your volume):

Since then I've gotten some good sleep though. When I was living in Alaska, we used to tape aluminum foil up in our windows to block out the sun. Klassy, I know... but I'm really thinking about doing it here!

What keeps you up at night?

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26 June, 2013

One Pin More

When discussing the addictive qualities of Pinterest in a text exchange, I told Jessica that I often sing "One Pin More" to the tune of  Les Miserables' song "One Day More". This is what followed that remark:

One more pin
One more tute


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